New equiment and rubber mulch flooring installed at school playgrounds in Pratt

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
USD 382 was awarded two grants by the Department of Health and Environment that were part of the 2020 Waste Tire Products Grant that has provided ground tire mulch for playground flooring.

A generous community donation has helped Pratt USD 382 replace playground equipment and a grant has been secured for flooring in both the preschool and Southwest Elementary playgrounds in Pratt. 

Assistant Superintendent David Schmidt said that the district utilized a very generous and appreciated donation from Fred and Nancy Kerr as well as the Bea Abrams Memorial funds to purchase five new pieces of playground equipment for the preschool that were installed last year. New items include:  two spinners, an outdoor xylophone, a slide and playhouse, and a merry-go round. Each piece of equipment gets added to the playground every year. They introduced the first one in 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. 

Superintendent Tony Helfrich said that all the playgrounds at the preschool and Southwest have most recently been equipped with rubber mulch flooring, instead of the old-school, splintery wooden mulch. Helfrich said this was for the safety of the students, and was feasible because of a matching 50/50 grant that was written and followed up by Kerry Boldt, who is in charge of maintenance at Southwest Elementary. There will also be a slide at Southwest that will be replaced over the summer. The district also uses various other donations to upgrade playground equipment when the time comes. 

“We are always looking to make improvements on the playground,” Helfrich said.  “Recess and play are important parts of growth for kids.” 

Boldt said that USD 382 was awarded two grants by the Department of Health and Environment that were part of the 2020 Waste Tire Products Grant. One was for new benches for the Owls Site located west of the school playground, and another for rubber mulch for two of our playground structures on the west side of Southwest, totaling $13,708.50. This mulch will last much longer and it's a great way to reuse old tires and help the environment while saving our district money, she said. The benches are also made out of ground rubber and are a beautiful addition to our outdoor learning area.